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14.08.2017 15:20

Unions focus on new employment and career coaching services

Trade Union Pro is building a new comprehensive employment service for all of its members. Union members will soon get a message concerning vacancies via their mobile phone.

The service includes a broad package of job seeking service, a search for vacancies and personal guidance and training. The service is free for all Union members and will begin this year.

Trade Union Pro already has a web page which highlights vacancies in the fields the Union is working. On the web page it is possible to search for a job according to region or profession.

Trade Union Pro has 115,000 members and is the largest private sector union for clerical employees.

The new service, called Täsmätyöpaikat, will turn this other way round. Up till now a member had to a make search for vacancies, in the future he will automatically get a message concerning vacancies in the fields he is interested in.

"When a member gives certain information when registering himself in the service, the jobs begin to look for him", says Pro Chairperson Jorma Malinen for Yle news.

The Union will also provide their members with tailored, personal guidance and training for job seeking. The service is being developed in cooperation with a company specialised in such services.

The main reason for introducing Täsmätyöpaikat is to develop Union services. "We want to give better service to our members" Chairperson Malinen says on the Union web page.

Another reason is the approaching possible privatisation of employment services. The Finnish government has decided that existing national employment services will be split into 19 regions from the beginning of 2019. The regions are then free to buy employment services from various actors, like private companies.

Jorma Malinen is concerned about how the employment service will be organised then. In an interview to Yle news he said that the Union has been discussing with the ministry on how the service will be after 2019 and the answer was that they do not know.

"There is reason to be worried about the level and quality of the service", he says.

And, also, digitalisation has made it feasible for even the trade unions to develop new forms of member services like this.

Career coaching gains popularity

Many Finnish trade unions have services for their members looking for a job. The Union of Professional Engineers in Finland has had an employment service for their members since 1986, according to the Union Chairperson Samu Salo for newspaper Kansan Uutiset.

The Union gets information on vacancies directly from employers and members can consult the web page do a search based on various key words.

Samu Salo believes that some 2,000 engineers will find a job through their service this year.  Last year the figure was 1,600.

"If the employment services are to be privatised from the beginning of 2019, we are seriously considering organising employment service for engineers" Salo says. "So far the service has only been for our members."

Another way how several Unions help their members is through career coaching. Normally, this service is bought from a company specialising in it.

Coaching typically includes a combination of personal telephone discussions with a professional career coach and use of the special career development tool on the web. One part of the process is also devoted to shaping the CV together with the coach. All this takes 3 -5 working days.

Union members have found the service invaluable. The Union of Journalists in Finland began the service with a pilot in 2016 and all of the available places were booked within minutes. Even on the third round of career coaching all 150 places were booked in a very short period of time and many people were disappointed that they could not take part.

The feedback was positive, with 94 per cent of those joining the Journalist Union's coaching saying that the service was important or very important. Out of a maximum five points participants gave on average a 4.3 score to the service.

Helsinki (10.08.2017 - Heikki Jokinen)

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